The second part of Chapter Nine.
This focuses on Karlyn & Meradat varying brands of mayhem, some back ground on the established Religion and continuing the theme of focusing on the as yet unwitting Trelli and Migran (sorry, not due to turn up just yet folks)…….
Karlyn was not having as much fun as she thought she ought to be allowed to have, considering she was now working for a Custoady. For a start he was insisting she read the Holy Books never mind whether they were riding, sitting, eating and even when she was up a tree and later he would be asking her questions about them. As she saw things; The First Holy Book was exciting in parts about how the world was made and the evil things that tried to sneak it away getting a good thumping. The Second Holy book was a bit tweedly going on about how people came into the world and how love started, followed by being sensible, and clever, well she supposed love would have to come first. Then bits about how people learnt about The Lord God, which she thought were a bit obvious. The Third was more fun because that went into details what were the sins and told gory tales about what happened to sinful folk. She didn’t understand the Fourth it seemed to involve a lot of folk meeting and sitting down to discuss what was good or bad, and what happened if you did one for the other reason, or didn’t do anything for another reason. She thought the Fifth Book was a giggle. Meradat was hurrumffy saying it only served as to display the foolishness of obsession. It told you when you could go to the privy when within 500 paces of a temple. It explained what you should not eat before visit a temple; how best to clean your nose and ears before going and other such fussy-stuffs. Karlyn promised herself the next time she saw a big fancy temple she was going to run in there and let fly one big blast.
Things became interesting at the small town, when she told Meradat she could smell sharp clean oil. She thought there would be so much fun when Meradat loudly pronounced his rank and reason for being there. Everyone ran about the place and the poor kindly looking translator and someone who might be a mayor were dragged out for Meradat to be furious with.
She’d helped him root out some young limp-one of a lad who had made a feeble bit of stormhiggle stuff that was supposed to predict the weather. When this was uncovered as the source there was much mirth. Some local farmers were quite severe in saying it didn’t. So instead of burning him at the stake and terrorising half the town as suspects as Karlyn had hoped, Meradat had him simply stand on a wagon while the Custoady lectured everyone about the dangers of becoming woebegone through following such imprudent things as these led unto the Hells. It was a chilly and windy day, Meradat didn’t notice of course, but everyone shivered or glared at the young twit.
Karlyn had to content herself with sitting on a wagon wheel and leering at various random folk.
When all was done and the guilty party was indentured to serve the widows, orphans and temple for six lunations, Meradat then subjected the translator to another lecture for failing in his duties.
So having nothing much else to do, Karlyn took charge of the offending device; a tubular metal thing, with four metal arrows at the top and two cheap looking gems set at opposite sides. She shook it, the lad winced
“There is the daftest looking device I ever saw!” she chided “It’s so bad it’s an insult. You’d be laughed at in Jorddie circles you would!”
With that she nudged him into a nearby bit of scrub land.
“Show ya!” she cried
Then jumped up and down on it until it broke; the lad was made to watch, he blubbered and pleaded, what for she didn’t care, she wasn’t listening.
She was suddenly noticing something.
His little box of tricks was leaking a dark oily water that looked like it was rippling all by itself, some of it lurched at her leg; dancing back, she thrust one hand into a trouser pocket, pulled out a small oilskin bag, punched it with a fingernail and threw the dusty contents it upon the vile liquid. There followed a fizzing and an agitation; the liquid writhed, the flame rippled across the surface, growing from dull red into blinding bright orange. The lad, previously transfixed squeaked and fell backwards; Karlyn threw dried sticks upon the burning, which consumed them hungrily, all the while the liquid rose and fell seeming to wish to break free, while diminishing as the flames fed upon it, until there was nothing but a patch of sandy grit being picked up by the wind.
Karlyn was quick upon the lad, gripping two handfuls of his clothing
“You got explain’ to do!” she hissed.
There was some more babbling in reply.
That annoyed her.
It could have gone worse for the lad, but Meradat appeared, roaring to Karlyn that the fool could hardly explain anything while she had her hands about his throat. Karlyn was not in the mood for listening; only stopping when a larger hand fell upon her collar and pulled her off as if she was a particularly bad-tempered terrier.
Meradat letting go of Karlyn after a slight warning shake to her, fixed a baleful look upon the chocking, coughing, wheezing, returned to babbling lad.
“He tried to trap me with walkin’ snatchin’ dirty oily water!!”
“It looked at me!!” the lad wailed “I saw one dread eye!”
“And I squished it and burnt it!!”
By now naturally a small crowd was gathering.
Karlyn watched Meradat do that draft making inhaling as he looked about at everyone with the greatest displeasure; she guessed he’d judged them even more responsible in some way. This was more like it. Maybe they’d get some decent burning done; ‘cause he was hauling the snivelling lad up; Karlyn looked about for convenient piles of wood; there was a dirty smell in the air, nothing like good old wood smoke to clean that; mind you cooked meat was a bit of a spoiler.
Meradat thundered forth, as if his previous sermon was just a polite afternoon chat.
“Oh woeful day! We shalt gather in your temple! We shalt hear the words of my assistant and,” Karlyn was pleased he shook the lad “Oh miserable and foolish youth! There are always consequences to dabbling in the Stommigheid!” at this the lad nodded his head rapidly. “Assemble people and give thanks to The Lord God who protects you through various and strange agencies!” looking at Karlyn.
As he dragged the lad off, Meradat surprised Karlyn by actually whispering.
“Between you, you nearly brought the Fourth Realm here! Restrain yourself!”
Days observation of his build and the way he moved, then the ease in which he hauled her off the lad Karlyn knew trying to swat Meradat or kick him in the old gazongas was going to end up with her on her arsepart. Instead she vented her crossness on the lad.
“Oi! Wobbles! What’s the name of the nearest portside town?”
“Prendaelyn,” as the lad was in high terror the answer came out as a lament
As befitted her gender Karlyn sniffed dismissively and loudly at Meradat.
“And that’s where we should be going! Right now!!”